A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

This is the place where we can all meet and speak about whatever is on the mind.
new reply
User avatar
Scott - A2A
A2A General
Posts: 15860
Joined: 11 Feb 2004
Location: USA
Contact:

A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post Scott - A2A »

We had to unfortunately belly land our airplane last night and wanted to share some more details with our community here.
aerostar_belly.jpg
aerostar_belly.jpg (877.49 KiB) Viewed 21064 times

Jake and I took the Aerostar up to do some practice IFR. Shortly after taking off the hydraulic pressure was rapidly dropping with the pump kicking in every 1-2 seconds to keep things pressurized. We suspected a hydraulic leak was the cause. In the Aerostar, there are no gear up locks. The only thing holding the gear up is hydraulic pressure, so if the system fails and you lose pressure, the gear comes down and locks. This is a great design and usually works as designed. So a hydraulic system failure in the Aerostar usually results in an uneventful flaps up landing.

However, as we were on approach to land and lowered the gear, nothing happened. As we discussed the situation, suddenly the nose gear down light locked. Then a few minutes later the right gear showed locked. Several cycles of the gear resulted in successfully raising, but not deploying all three. The only thing I could think of as being the cause at the time as some kind of blockage in the hydraulics preventing all three wheels from deploying properly.

The twist here was if our hydraulics were leaking and ultimately failed, we would be stuck with a nose and right gear deployed and landing with a left wing with fuel scraping on the pavement. Clearly not a desirable situation. However as time progressed the hydraulic pressure was more stable (losing pressure slowly) so I quickly called one of the best Aerostar mechanics in the biz and asked "Jim, is there any chance if I land gear up of any of the fuel lines or tanks rupturing?" and he said "Absolutely not. But you don't want to land with two wheels" which I fully agreed with. My main concern was not losing the opportunity to land safely with the gear up with 100 gallons of fuel on board.

So we decided to just tuck the gear up, contact the largest airport in the area (Bradley International KBDL) and belly it in. As I digest the events, combing over the choices we had, I'm grateful to have my son be there by my side as we worked through this (though the father wants his son as far away from danger as possible). The very first thing Jake said was "Dad, I'll handle the comms, you just fly the plane." Another was "Dad, you tell me when and I'll feather the engines, you don't worry about that." He was continuously taking the load off me. The mind works in strange ways during a crisis and it's critical that someone is always concentrating on properly flying the airplane. Jake made this happen and again which is why I believe twin engine airplanes should almost always be flown by two competent pilots. The twin is about redundancy and in this situation we can see how this worked having two pilots working together towards one goal.

As a result we landed it safely. It was probably the smoothest landing I ever made in this plane which I am grateful for as you can't hit the reset button this time to try again. The Aerostar felt like a rock and was surprisingly controllable as we were skidding, it almost felt like it was designed to belly land. There were no jerky movements however once we stopped seeing smoke come out from under the belly and thinking how that doesn't get along well with fuel, expedited our exit.

As more information comes in, I'll post it here.

Facebook post:
https://www.facebook.com/jacob.gentile. ... &ref=notif

Scott
A2A Simulations Inc.

User avatar
Mazo
Technical Sergeant
Posts: 582
Joined: 15 Jan 2011
Location: Florida

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post Mazo »

Scott & Jake,
So glad that the outcome was not disastrous. No doubt that having two of you guys together made a serious situation easier to control. Great co-operation and skill sets shine through the ordeal!

Lyn
[*]Jetline Systems GTX, P3DV5.1,Win10 64 Pro, [email protected], EVGA RTX 2080ti 11Gb, 32Gb Memory 3000MHz,


In memory of my fallen Brothers in Arms in Viet Nam - may they Rest in Peace.

User avatar
FlameOut
Staff Sergeant
Posts: 482
Joined: 30 Jul 2008

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post FlameOut »

So glad y'all are safe and sound

User avatar
Piper_EEWL
Chief Master Sergeant
Posts: 4250
Joined: 26 Nov 2014
Location: Germany

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post Piper_EEWL »

On the one hand it really sucks that you just got the Aerostar flying again and now have to face repairs again. But of course the most important thing is that you guys are safe! Great job in decision making. I’m sure the first Impuls would be to safe try to get the gear down so you don’t have damage on the plane.

Thank you for sharing and a happy new year!
B377&COTS, J3 Cub, B-17G, Spitfire, P-40, P-51D, C172, C182, Pa28, Pa24, T-6 Texan, L-049&COTS, Bonanza V35B

User avatar
BPL
Staff Sergeant
Posts: 409
Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Location: Gibsonville, North Carolina, USA

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post BPL »

I'm sorry to see this happen to your airplane, but very glad and thankful that you and Jake are safe. Nice work bringing her down safely! It sounds as if you both handled the situation very well.

User avatar
trindade
Staff Sergeant
Posts: 353
Joined: 15 Apr 2011
Location: LPPT

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post trindade »

What a way of ending the year! I'm very glad to see you both are okay.

PS: Even belly landed she's a beauty.
Image

User avatar
guillaume78150
Staff Sergeant
Posts: 426
Joined: 08 Oct 2015
Location: North Burgundy
Contact:

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post guillaume78150 »

Not the usual way to celebrate the new year but glad it ended that way. On any conventional low wing twin, it would have destroyed both propeller and damaged both engines.
Is it why you landed the aircraft on the runway and not on grass ?

User avatar
Al FR-153
Technical Sergeant
Posts: 902
Joined: 08 Feb 2011
Location: Between KARR, 82IS, 3CK in Northern Illinois

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post Al FR-153 »

Glad to hear both of you are safe. As for the Aerostar, she can be fixed, you two made such a terrific landing. On the lighter side, why do I get the feeling this will be an AccuSim issue with the flight sim bird? :P

Happy and Safe New Year to you and Jake (and families).

Al
Al Heline

Image Image Image Image Image Image

User avatar
Scott - A2A
A2A General
Posts: 15860
Joined: 11 Feb 2004
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post Scott - A2A »

guillaume78150 wrote:
01 Jan 2021, 08:11
Not the usual way to celebrate the new year but glad it ended that way. On any conventional low wing twin, it would have destroyed both propeller and damaged both engines.
Is it why you landed the aircraft on the runway and not on grass ?
I would always choose a very long smooth hard surface to belly land something like an Aerostar over uneven grass. I can't speak for other airplanes but I was thinking of the Messerschmidt Me-163 "Komet" as we were skidding. This plane has a skid and was designed to land this way:
Image

The Aerostar felt like it was designed to land on it's belly as it was perfectly controllable.

BTW an interesting tidbit, we requested fire retardant foam and the airport said "due to environmental concerns, we no longer use that." This is true for even a passenger plane with hundreds of people. In our case all they would have needed was a very narrow path, as said above, it was controllable on the ground. Some other airplanes may not have faired as well as this beautifully designed and tough airplane.

Scott
A2A Simulations Inc.

User avatar
MkIV Hvd
Technical Sergeant
Posts: 657
Joined: 11 Mar 2019
Location: CYYC

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post MkIV Hvd »

I'm sorry to hear of you having to go through the experience, but I'm glad to know you weren't alone and it certainly sounds as if you both handled the situation as a professional crew...well done Scott & Jake!!! :D
guillaume78150 wrote:
01 Jan 2021, 08:11
Not the usual way to celebrate the new year but glad it ended that way. On any conventional low wing twin, it would have destroyed both propeller and damaged both engines.
Is it why you landed the aircraft on the runway and not on grass ?
Another benefit of the brilliant Ted Smith design...and it wouldn't surprise me at all if that was part of his plan in the first place for that exact reason! :wink:

During a gear up landing on grass, the turf will ball up under the airplane and usually destroy it during the sudden stop. The best choice is always the smooth pavement and in this case it certainly looks like there will just be a bit of road rash to fix and a hydraulic system to sort out and it'll be good to go.

Cheers,
Rob
Rob Wilkinson
A2A Harvard, Mustangs Civilian & Military, Spitfire, P-40, Comanche, Bonanza, Cub, VATSIM P4 and some other stuff...

User avatar
Oracle427
Chief Master Sergeant
Posts: 3837
Joined: 02 Sep 2013

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post Oracle427 »

Laat gasp of 2020, and it goes out with a bang! :(

Really sorry to hear this and glad that you are both safe. Excellent handling of the situation.
Flight Simmer since 1983. PP ASEL IR Tailwheel

User avatar
FAC257
A2A Master Mechanic
Posts: 5598
Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Location: Florida

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post FAC257 »

What an experience! Really glad you guys are alright.
FAC257
Image

BrianV
Airman
Posts: 34
Joined: 02 Mar 2015

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post BrianV »

Ufff, a scary way to end 2020 but thankfully your experience and the quality of the plane made the landing possible with no personal injuries. Hopefully this is a once in a lifetime experience. Take care, and hope you get the Aerostar back in good shape.

User avatar
AKar
A2A Mechanic
Posts: 4555
Joined: 26 May 2013

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post AKar »

Damn, that year did not go without fighting to the end it seems.

The main thing is that you guys are alright, and I hope the damage was relatively minimal as well. Were you lucky enough to avoid props hit the ground entirely?

-Esa

User avatar
Pistonpilot
Technical Sergeant
Posts: 584
Joined: 07 Aug 2008
Location: Maine, USA

Re: A2A Aerostar Emergency Landing

Post Pistonpilot »

Saw a news blurb about your successful gear up landing this morning and thought "oh no, I recognize that plane!". Really glad you guys made a serries of good choices and worked as a team to recover yourselves and the aircraft as safely as possible. Great idea calling an expert. Good airmanship all around! Thanks for the more detailed account and for letting us know you made it through OK.

-Ian C
Image

DWC Alumni. Commercial Instrument Single/Multi-Engine Land. [Former] Police, Fire, & 9-1-1 Dispatcher. [Former] MAINEiac Crew Chief.

new reply

Return to “Pilot's Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Maurizio Rizzotto and 11 guests